From the SIP Trunking Experts

April 14, 2014

Landline Prices Make Giant Leap in 5 Years

By Steve Anderson Contributing SIP Trunking Report Writer

The landline phone has been the target of plenty of discussion lately, as more and more, users wonder why it's even still in the picture in the first place. While private home users consider the value of using a mobile device fulltime, and both home and business users look to voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) as a way to save money and get more service, the idea of a landline phone loses a lot of its luster. But while many consider ditching the landline altogether, there are reports that suggest a good chunk of landline dumping may have been brought on by phone companies, who in some cases have steadily increased the price of having a landline over the last five years.

The reports in question seem to mainly focus on the U.K., and have revealed a rather disturbing fact about the cost of having a landline there. The cost of having a landline has increased by 38 percent just in the last five years, from a monthly average of 11.14 pounds sterling in 2009 to 15.35 pounds sterling in 2014. What's more, the rate can further vary based on the company with which the account is held; reports suggest that Virgin Media account holders have seen a jump of 45 percent, and the BT company comes in at 42 percent. Meanwhile, Plusnet has raised the least, increasing just 31 percent—if almost a third can really be called “just”--over that same five year period.

These kinds of price jumps have led to a sort of resentment among subscribers, who in increasing numbers—around 37 percent at last report—would ditch the landline altogether except for one key point: it's often necessary for the sake of the broadband connection. However, companies like Virgin Media offer a way to access a fiber optic service without paying for line rental, and also offer a Wi-Fi calling app known as SmartCall, so the company is clearly interested in moving to a largely Internet-driven service. However, it's important to note that fiber optic service may not necessarily be bargain priced, so considering the jump to fiber against the prices paid for current service would be worth doing.

There are some options to drop the costs of landlines, though, including paying upfront for service—reports suggest that such a measure can drop the price up to 40 percent annually—taking a look at smaller ISPs for service, turning to 4G access instead of broadband access and considering all the pricing options a company can offer.

While there are still some reasons to have a landline, at least in the United States—having phone service during power outages is a welcome feature—the idea of a landline phone being a strict necessity is falling by the wayside. With many new options coming available, it's not surprising to see the best value in various fields starting to change with the arrival of said options. There's still value in a horse and buggy, even with the arrival of the electric car, but it may not necessarily be the best value any more. The key here, of course, is to have options; there needs to be more than one Internet service provider (ISP) in an area to make price comparisons possible, just as there needs to be more than one breed of phone service. Still, the changes are clearly coming about—in some places more so than others—so keeping an eye on the changes is going to be a point that's very much worthwhile to users looking for the best bargain.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi